I ran across The French Cookie Book looking for cornmeal. Several people have made the recipe in this book for cornmeal cookies. I admit I am not a big "cookie" person. For me there is peanut butter and chocolate chip and peanut butter chocolate chunk and peanut butter blossoms and...well, you understand. French cookies are macaroons. Period. I asked my friend and fellow foodie Francophile, Anne, and she said basically the same thing -- French cookies? Really not something one thinks of off the top of ones tête.
Bruce Healy has thought about it a lot -- excessively, in fact. Healy is or was a theoretical physicist before he became consumed with pastry. His science background comes through in his exhaustive research of the French cookie. Combine the physicist with and actual baker in Paul Bugat and you have a cookie compendium of grand proportion.
According to Healy , and I am not one to argue with a theoretical physicist, these are very rare French cookies. They probably originated in the Bresse region of southern Burgundy. They are piped to resemble little ears of corn. Of course the cornmeal cookies would come from the South of Burgundy.
Cornmeal Cookies1 3/4 ounces (50g), or 3 1/2 tablespoons, unsalted butter, softened2 ounces (60 g0, or about 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar2 large egg yolksFinely grated zest of 1 lemon2 2/3 ounces (75 g), or 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons, all-purpose flour2 ounces (60 g), or 7 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon, yellow cornmealPreheated oven to 475F1 Place the butter in a small stainless steel bowl and beat with a wooden spatula, warming it up over low heat as needed to make it smooth, white, and creamy. Sift the sugar over the creamed butter and beat it in. Beat in 1 egg yolk with the wooden spatula. Then beating in the remaining yolk with a wire whisk. Whisk in the lemon zest. Sift the flour and cornmeal over the batter and mix them with the wooden spatula.2. Scoop the batter into the pastry bag, and pipe the batter in 1/2 inch-(12 mm) wide fluted strips the length of the baking sheets, separating them by 1 to 1 1/2 inches (2 1/4 -4 cm). Score each strip crosswise at 2 1/2 inches (6 cm) intervals by pressing through the batter with a small pallet knife or the back edge of a paring knife. wipe off the blade after each three to four cuts to remove any batter that sticks to it.
3. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until the cookies begin to brown on the bottoms but are still pale yellow on the top, about 5 minutes.
4.Transfer the baking sheet o a wire rack and let the cookies cool to room temperature.
%. When the cookies are cool, separate them at the scored intervals.
These remind me of little sweet "cheese straw" like cookies. If you like this book, you will love Healy's others. He has put his exacting detail into another book on French pastry and one on cakes.